Kara WestFollow


WGSS 335: Masculinity in American Culture

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Given the recent ‘epidemic’ of mental health disorders, we urgently need to better understand who is suffering and how. One aspect of this that research has come closer to identifying is where symptoms and diagnoses are missed in certain individuals, especially based on gender. However, if certain genders are actually more likely to deal with certain disorders we need to understand why and where that comes from. There is a general consensus in the medical field that some individuals are simply genetically predisposed to various disorders based on sex, but there is limited evidence that sex actually determines genetic predisposition. Additionally, key research findings indicate that the role of environmental stressors is crucial in determining whether even a predisposed individual will actually present symptoms to a point of a diagnosed disorder. Therefore, if there is such a measurable difference between men and women in the presentation and diagnosis of certain psychiatric disorders, gender must be considered as a potential environmental stressor itself which might compound predisposition and lead to an actual difference in the rates of certain types of disorders by gender. ADHD and clinical depression are two specific psychiatric disorders that are widely associated with men compared to women and vice versa. Therefore, they will serve as benchmarks to analyze gender differences in psychiatric disorders and potential factors like genetic predisposition and gender itself. If there is a truly measurable difference between the actual rates of prevalence of these disorders based on sex, gender itself must be considered as an environmental stressor that might compound factors like genetic predisposition, leading to the presentation of certain symptoms and diagnoses in different individuals.


Honorable Mention Short Analytical Essay Winner, 2023